How to Make a Vintage Fabric Bow

Written by emily zebrun
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How to Make a Vintage Fabric Bow
An example of a finished fabric bow. (Christmas bow image by Alison Bowden from

Constructed fabric bows are best suited to natural fabrics, like cottons and linens, which makes them a great small project for the use of vintage fabrics. The pattern can be modified to make large or small bows, and the bows can be used in many different ways. For example: attach them to a headband to make an adorable, Lolita-inspired hair accessory, or attach them to your favourite dress for an added touch of whimsy.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric (1/2 yard should be enough for most bows)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Needle and thread
  • Ruler
  • Pencil or other pointed object
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • Iron

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    Cutting and Machine Sewing

  1. 1

    Cut out two 5"X7" rectangles and one 3"X6" rectangle (for a small bow). The larger rectangles will make up the body of the bow, and the smaller rectangle will act as a "tie."

  2. 2

    Sew the larger rectangles together, wrong sides out, 1/4" from the raw edges. Leave a 2" gap in the middle of one of the longer sides.

  3. 3

    Fold the smaller tie piece of fabric in half along the longer edge, wrong sides out. Sew 1/4" from the raw edges.

    Trimming, Pressing, and Hand Sewing

  1. 1

    Trim all the way around the bow body (except for the edge with the gap) and along the tie's seam with pinking shears or other scissors.

  2. 2

    Turn the bow body inside out. Using a pencil or other pointed (but not sharp) implement, push the corners out into points. Press the bow body with the iron.

  3. 3

    Turn the tie inside out and roll the seam to the bottom centre. Press the tie.

  4. 4

    Accordion fold the bow body and pinch it in the centre to make a bow shape. Hand sew the folds in place by passing a needle and thread through the centre, securing the folds.

  5. 5

    Wrap the tie around the centre, seam side down, to hide the stitching. Hand sew the tie into place.

Tips and warnings

  • During pressing, you can add starch to your bow to provide added stiffness.
  • Make sure to use the correct iron setting when pressing vintage fabrics. Some older fabrics are more easily damaged by heat.

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